May 23, 2008

Argentinean Barbecue-Asado Argentino

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Argentinean men have two passions in life: (soccer) and asado (barbecue).  Not sodifferent from many American men, right?  There are lots of men out there who like nothing better than to throw some meat on the grill and watch the game on TV.  Guillermo and I mix and match, culturally speaking, as necessary-a little from his, a little from mine-until we get a nice comfortable blend.  But barbecue is where he draws the line.

The first time he wanted to grill together, I thought, 'how different can Argentinean barbecue be?'  I'm here to tell you-it's a whole other ballgame.  For starters, Argentinean barbecue is wood-fired, not charcoal.  Barbecue sauce is a cardinal sin, lighter fluid gets the boot.  And the fare is different.  Eggplant.  Short ribs.  Whole Chicken.  Organ Meats.  Steak that's two inches thick.  Chorizo sausage.  Thick slices of Provolone cheese, grilled until just soft enough to spread across pieces of crusty bread.  And if you're in Argentina and in luck, you'll get the whole animal.  No hot dogs of ambiguous origins, no skewers, and definitely no patties.

There are books about Argentinean barbecue-but they're more like academic tomes-no Bobby Flay, with his 125 ways to grill anything.  Argentineans are traditionalists when it comes to barbecue-they stick with what works.  And frankly, most Argentineans don't need a book-they learn from home-in their own backyard, where almost everyone has a brick oven barbecue built in the yard. 

If you're in the US and reading this, this weekend is Memorial Day-a day that marks the start of summer and of grilling.  If your plans include grilling, I urge you to try just a touch of Argentinean-style barbecue.  I'm sure that this is just the beginning of the posts I'll do over the summer about this, but please write in and tell me if you have ideas about a recipe you'd like to see and I'll try to write accordingly.  Enjoy the long weekend-and if you're grilling, throw an eggplant on the grill!

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Receta para Berenjena Asada 

Recipe for Grilled Eggplant

2 eggplants, washed and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds

coarse salt

crushed red pepper

oregano

olive oil

Put the eggplant rounds in a roasting pan and sprinkle abundantly with salt.  Let them 'sweat', and then drain them. Drizzle generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with oregano and crushed red pepper.  Place on the grill, over indirect heat, until soft in the center-they will appear juicy and have grill marks.

9 Responses to “Argentinean Barbecue-Asado Argentino”

  1. There used to be an Argentinean barbecue place in Cambridge, Mass. near Harvard University — what I remember most were the sauces and salsas that accompanied the perfectly grilled meats. It’s where I first learned to love chimichurri with grilled steak — and I still love it, many years later!

  2. Hi dear! Italian men are quite the same but the list is 1° soccer and 2 ° women 😀 than food …apart some exeption obviously!
    i enjoy so much reading your entries!
    Thanks
    Silvia

  3. Ah, perfect timing! And the pictures are wonderful. So is anything with eggplant.

  4. Hi Rebecca,
    What U.S. meat cuts do we use to do an Argentinian “asado”. I understand that the meat cuts in Argentina are different than the cuts in the U.S.
    Thanks
    Natasha

  5. Rebecca,
    Do you have a good recipe for “chimichurri”? I’ve seen so many recipes on the web, I am not sure what to do.
    Thanks,
    Natasha

  6. Lydia-sounds great-I love to find a taste of Argentina wherever we travel!
    Silvia-ha ha! I guess I should have added women to the list for Argentinean men, too-it would tie for 2nd place with barbecue! 😉
    Jen-I love eggplant and have yet to meet one I didn’t like!
    Natasha-these are great questions-looks like I need to write another barbecue post!

  7. I look forward to trying this one out! I tried to make the receta por Berenjenas en escabeche, but I wasn’t successful. Not sure what went wrong. I think I can handle the grilled eggplant. 😉
    Paz

  8. oh! wood-bbq? i haven’t tasted anything cooked using wood for such a long long long time. gosh, how i miss it! i’d love to go to Argentina!

  9. English men are the same about BBQ’s but most often the food is dull. I however love a good and varied BBQ :)

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